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Wine Industry Leaders Navigate Roadmap to Robust ESG Performance

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Wine Industry Leaders Navigate Roadmap to Robust ESG Performance

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Environmental, social and governance has emerged as one of the core strategies in the wine industry to integrate sustainability into business goals and achieve sustainable growth. Environmentally friendly winegrowing practices have gained ground as sustainable vineyards continue to amass popularity. Wineries and vineyards have warranted social and environmentally responsible approaches to ensure soil, communities and industry health. An emphasis on water efficiency, pest management, energy efficiency, waste management and supply chain can foster sustainable viticulture.

Of late, organic wine that does not have added sulfites to increase shelf life has come on the horizon. Since various synthetic products are banned in several countries, producers and farmers may be forced to seek organic farming. Moreover, biodynamic farming has stood out among winegrowers as it aims to balance and revive soil, farm and plant’s health. It can also enhance soil fertility and enable vines to flourish in a balanced ecosystem.

ESG performance will hold prominence to protect diversity, minimize waste, produce healthy wines, ensure traceability, enhance transparency and boost job creation. Similarly, stockholders, shareholders and other stakeholders are expected to bank on ESG pillars to gain steam in the global landscape.

Environmental Perspective

Winegrowers are counting on environmental performance to preserve ambiance and negate the impact of climate change on wine production. For instance, regenerative agriculture practices have received an impetus to minimize tilling, enhance soil health and help bind carbon in the soil. Moreover, an increased need for water at wineries has furthered the demand for state-of-the-art water tracking devices. Vintage Wine Estates is contemplating using NASA data and AI to forecast water availability. The U.S.-based company has been reusing wastewater from wineries and using city graywater for vineyard irrigation.

Furthermore, in 2022, the company claims to have completed its first scope 1&2 carbon emissions calculations. It also adopted strategies, such as installing alternative energy, efficiency upgrades and streamlining tracking of energy use in real-time across wineries. Brands are likely to further their sustainability quotient and stay committed to a culture of care toward the environment.

Social Perspective

Wineries and vineyards with a focus on diversity, equity, inclusion and workplace safety can redefine the global landscape. Pioneering companies and other leaders have upped investments in human rights to eliminate discrimination and forced labor. By 2022, the Asahi Group spurred efforts to complete human rights due diligence at suppliers. The company formed a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DE&I) statement in the preceding year. It aims to propel the percentage of female representation of leadership positions to 40% by 2030, up from 22% in 2021.

The Tokyo-based company has put the spotlight on people-to-people connections globally. It contemplates launching the Environmental Think Tank to allow employees to implement proposed projects and help resolve regional environmental issues in Oceania. Besides, it could implement support projects for hops farmers, barley farmers and Campus Peroni. Promoting a culture full of opportunities and the well-being of employees can underscore social pillar, thereby strengthening brand position.

Governance Perspective

Companies that prioritize transparency, good corporate governance and board diversity may have the edge over their competitors. The strategy can optimize the company’s performance, offer guidance for smooth management and recognize the organization’s legal obligations. Specifically, women comprised 58.3% of the Board of Directors at Pernod Ricard as of 30th June 2022, while 58.3% were independent directors and 42.8% were non-French Directors.

Meanwhile, Treasury Wine Estates has eight non-executive directors and has augmented focus on risk management frameworks and controls. The company has furthered its emphasis on tax governance to muster up stakeholders’ value, trust and confidence. It has adopted a low tax risk appetite, suggesting tax risks above the level mentioned in the risk management framework are managed by a robust mitigation plan.

Incumbent players have emphasized minimizing carbon emissions and investing in renewable energy. For instance, the Asahi Group has set an audacious goal of transitioning all of its breweries to renewable energy-derived electricity by 2025 across Europe. On the other hand, Treasury Wine Estates opened a USD 165 million production facility in Barossa Valley, South Australia, to help manage climate change impacts on winemaking vintages. These trends indicate the global wine market could observe a healthy CAGR of 6.4% from 2021 to 2028.

Source: Astra ESG Solutions

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